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Asean

United States and China are racing to achieve a FTA in the Pacific rim

The race is on between the United States and China to dominate the rules-setting game for trade by being the first to be able to announce plans for a free trade area in the Pacific Rim.

Aishwarya Gupta

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The race is on between the United States and China to dominate the rules-setting game for trade by being the first to be able to announce plans for a free trade area in the Pacific Rim.

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China hopes to use its position as chair of APEC this year to propose that a feasibility study on a Free Trade Agreement for the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), first mooted in 2006, be pursued.

In other words, negotiations towards an FTAAP would commence, for all practical purposes. But if the TPP can be concluded, or substantial and credible progress towards its conclusion be achieved, so that an impressive announcement can be made at the APEC meeting in Beijing in November, it would steal the thunder from China. If such an announcement is not forthcoming or not credible, China will likely announce a ‘Beijing Road Map’ for an FTA of the Pacific Rim, building on APEC rather than the TPP. Billions of dollars in trade are at stake.

It will be difficult for leaders from the TPP countries to ignore a declaration endorsing a feasibility study for the FTAAP if they cannot offer an alternative

The rest is here:
TPPing APEC?

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Banking

Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay Launch Cross-border Payment System

Olivier Languepin and Abhishek Prakash

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In a global first, Singapore and Thailand have linked their real-time payment systems, PayNow and PromptPay allowing international fund transfers between the two countries within minutes.

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Myanmar

Digital Revolution and Repression in Myanmar and Thailand

Activists have also proactively published social media content in multiple languages using the hashtags #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar and #WhatsHappeningInThailand to boost coverage of events on the ground.

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By Karen Lee

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Following the February 1 coup, Myanmar’s netizens became the latest to join the #MilkTeaAlliance, an online collective of pro-democracy youth across Asia.

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Vietnam

Vietnam: Manufacturing to remain the key driver of growth

We expect robust exports, led by strong global demand for electronics, to continue to underpin solid economic growth over the remainder of this year with GDP forecast to rise close to 8%.

Boris Sullivan

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Vietnam’s Binh Dinh Industrial Zone: Opportunities for Foreign Investors

GDP growth was unchanged at 4.5% y/y in Q1. Manufacturing activity surged, while the recovery in service sector activity and construction continued albeit at a more subdued pace as some localised social distancing measures were reinstated.

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